Everybody shoots photos and videos with their phones and shares them online. The process is quick and easy, very convenient, and most of all: the image quality is very good as well. Despite digital cameras still producing better images, customers seem to prefer usability over image quality. That’s why for the last few years all major digital camera brands (Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc) have had a hard time selling their cameras against the smartphone competition, especially to first-time buyers.
Digital cameras are getting smarter than phone cameras
We have seen real innovation in digital camera technology and image processing software in the last few months. These exciting new features make shooting with a digital camera fun and fast – and most of all – the image quality by ‘proper’ digital cameras by far supersedes images taken with smartphones.
Sticky autofocus even on fast-moving subjects
Digital cameras, especially those with interchangeable lenses, produce images with far shallower depth-of-field. This means the subjects are optically separated from the foreground and background. This is an effect that most customers would instantly associate with image quality. However, as the area in focus is comparatively shallower it is more difficult to focus. Autofocus systems have been good on still subjects for a long time, however, focusing on something fast-moving (especially towards or away from the camera) has always been a major challenge. The latest generation of digital cameras by all major brands have dramatically improved autofocus capabilities driven by AI algorithms. These cameras are able to detect human eyeballs and keep the focus ‘sticky’ even if the subject is moving. The team of corporate headshot photographers at FrameShot in London tells us that this technology has become a real game changer.
Intelligent image culling
Cameras and post-production software solutions are now able to identify the best pictures in any given batch of photos. The algorithms are able to detect open or closed eyes, smiles, image sharpness, and balanced image composition. A process that used to take hours or even days is now condensed to just a few minutes. Schmittat Wedding Photographer based in Surrey, UK, tell us how this technology on average saves them more than half the time in image post-production. Before they used to spend several days manually selecting hundreds of images out of thousands of images taken on the wedding day. Using automated image selection tools enables wedding photographers to deliver their images to the couple faster than ever before.
Automated image editing
The involvement of AI doesn’t stop at culling. Modern software solutions (both in-camera and on a computer or mobile device) are able to ‘lean’ any photographer’s taste and style. In order to ‘train’ the software it needs to analyse a few thousand completed images. After this learning process, the software is able to apply that style to any number of previously selected images. This means that not only the image selection but also the image editing process can now be sped up immensely with the help of artificial intelligence.
Taking images with a proper digital camera is fun again!
Taking images with intelligent in-camera tools, finding the best images out of thousands of shots with the help of AI algorithms, and lastly batch-editing them in your own signature style, all with the click of a mouse brings the fun back to digital photography. Ditch the smartphone and get a dedicated digital camera – the advantages of smartphone photography are now negligible.
What comes next
“In the near future we will see AI-supported video editing as well”, says a video live streamer and videographer at Funeral Memories. In a few years, we will have software that understands our video footage and intelligently edits videos in our usual style. We will have engaging edited videos moments after having finished recording the footage. What we are seeing is just the beginning of an exciting era of AI-supported image and video production.